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As Trump Calls for National 20-Week Abortion Ban, Critics Condemn GOP's Anti-Child Policies

Reproductive rights advocates call on the president and Republican lawmakers to restore CHIP, address DACA, and "address our obscene rates of maternal mortality."

reproductive rights demonstrators

 Demonstrators protest in front of the Thompson Center to voice their support for Planned Parenthood and reproductive rights on February 10, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

After President Donald Trump's March for Life speech on Friday, in which he called for a nationwide 20-week abortion ban and touted his administration's efforts to roll back reproductive rights and discrimination prevention measures in the euphemistic name of "religious liberty," critics denounced Trump and Republicans for pushing an anti-child agenda.

In response to the president's proclamations that he values children, reproductive rights advocates decried failures by the Republican-led Congress to approve long-term funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as well as moves by Trump and GOP lawmakers to use recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as "bargaining chips" in legislative battles over immigration policy. 

Introduced by Vice President Mike Pence as "the most pro-life president in American history," Trump called on the Senate to pass a bill "misleadingly labeled as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act," which cleared the House in October. Advocates for reproductive rights have said the proposal is unpopular and unconstitutional, and would mostly notably impact low-income women of color. 

Trump also attacked the landmark Supreme Court Roe v. Wade ruling for enabling "permissive abortion laws," and bragged about various ways his administration and Republicans in Congress have worked to limit access to reproductive care since he took office one year ago. 

As the president noted:

  • During his first week in office, Trump reinstated the so-called Global Gag Rule, or the Mexico City Policy, which prohibits international organizations from receiving U.S. family planning funding if they mention or provide information about abortion—a move that women's health advocates warned was short-sighted, dangerous, and discriminatory. 
  • On Thursday, Trump's Department of Health and Human Services announced a new division to assist healthcare providers who refuse to treat patients based on religious or moral convictions, which legal advocates said "grants an illegal license to discriminate" and "will quite possibly cost lives."
  • On Friday, Trump also announced he is rescinding the 2016 guidance issued by the Obama administration that cautioned state officials against withholding Medicaid funds from Planned Parenthood or other healthcare providers on the grounds that doing so could violate federal law.

Dawn Laguens, Planned Parenthood's executive vice president, said the move to allow states to withhold funding makes the Trump-Pence agenda "crystal clear."

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